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How to Decenter Men

Today we are discussing my favorite subject. Decentering Men

A couple of years ago I wrote a book called Decentering Men and then an article Decentering Men: Why you should let go of men. I wrote it because I was tired of making every decision with a man in my thoughts. I was tired of thinking about where I wanted to move and asking myself, what if I got a boyfriend when I decided to leave? Or living life at 85% because I am waiting for a man to rescue and help me with 100%?

I would live this really fun and incredible life and then have a burst of melancholy because I didn’t have a partner. It was an exhausting merry-go-round that made me feel pathetic. I knew I was better than this, but I just could not find any written pieces that told me how to get off this ride and why.

When I say Decenter Men, I think about it as an ongoing practice. It is a practice for which you examine all the ways you dwindled yourself, held off, stopped your pleasure, did not peruse a task, nor reach a goal because you were waiting for a hypothetical man to rescue you.

It is a practice for which you examine the ways you organize yourself around the idea of obtaining a man. You may perform on dates, change your needs, way of living, and being for a man.

It is a practice for which you notice how many times you’ve opted out of being the main character in your life to be a man’s side or background character.

It is a practice in which you decide not to live a half-lived life because you are not in a partnership.

When you decenter men, you acknowledge that structurally you can organize and destroy it with community, but you can also confront men’s place in your world interpersonal. The point is to examine all of the conscious and unconscious ways you place men above your own needs and fullness.

Now decentering men is a personal practice. You can define your limit. You can define what that looks like. However, some tips can help you define what that looks like.

So how do you practice decentering men?

1. Be Realistic about men

As much as I love men, they aren’t that great and this isn’t an opinion it’s been backed up by homicide rates, domestic violence rates, and rape statistics. Research shows that women’s life expectancy decreases when they partner with men due to unequal distribution of labor. Their career momentum also slows down once married. Even as friends, they fall short because most male friend groups aren’t based on emotional bonding. It’s usually based on something else. In a system like patriarchy, they are allowed to get rewarded even when they fall short of decent people. I don’t hate men. I like them and want them in my life, but I am realistic about what is there, which helps me live life without placing them as the center or on a pedestal. They are regular people.

2. Imagine yourself happy now.

It is perfectly ok to want partnership, that is a human need. However, no one said you had to be removed from your life and not fulfilled because of it. No one said you must wait to be partnered to start. No one said you must wait until a man sees you to feel remarkable or to be worth it. That power is not there to give. It is yours and it has always been yours. You want to feel 100% & you can get there or at least close enough to it. Through actionable steps, therapy, or medication whatever you need to feel like your life is yours. Do it.

3. Expand your imagination

We’ve only been given one framework for happiness. Our queer friends found multiple frameworks for happiness. What if we did the same and found a framework the encapsulates where we are now? What if we accept that where we are our framework for happiness? What if we decide that our lifestyle is not proof of our incorrectness or badness? It is proof that we are alive and are trying. It’s so cliché, but happiness is what you make it. When I first heard that quote, I thought it meant you can do many things to be happy. I didn’t realize it meant you can define happiness and even say it’s where you are now, and that can be the final decision. I didn’t realize you could take happiness with you at every stage and there does not have to be a prerequisite for it.

These three tips are starting points, and I will make more content as we grow on this journey but know that you are the main character and can decide and choose whatever it is you’d like.

And on that note, take care!

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